Sometimes, I dislike speaking with beauty counter sales associates.
I can sense that sales push aura from a mile away. The one that will try to convince you that the too orange foundation is the “perfect” color for you or that too pale powder is just right. I have walked away from sales counter with ORANGE skin. It’s not always their fault. Corporate decisions that include intentionally bad lighting in department stores that make everything look like the right color is just as responsible. I remember being given a full face application of NVEY ECO foundation by a brand makeup artist, in a dimly lit space, and coming home to realize that I looked like an Oompa Loompa. I was actually amused because it meant people in the city are used to everything and didn’t even blink at my orange skin.
Sometimes they will try to sell you into buying more than you need because it is such a GOOD DEAL. I went to Bloomingdales to buy the SK-II Facial Treatment Essence and was urged to buy the larger value size. I politely said I was new to the brand and went with the regular sized bottle.
Sometimes they will try to get you to spill hundreds of dollars without even getting the benefit of a sample to reduce the possibility of a return for a product that is not suited to your skin. I was interested in trying out certain products in the Dior Capture Totale line and the beauty consultant was pretty much pressuring me to spend almost $300 bucks for products I have never tried before and was dismissive when I mentioned I would prefer a sample to check out the products.
And then there are the times you are outright lied to.
Now, I will say I rarely ask for recommendations from beauty consultants because I know they are there to SELL, SELL, SELL. The question I ask is whether they have received any new products. I prefer to do my research online and read other people’s reviews for a product. I have spent countless hours on Makeupalley.com reading reviews and many on the brand site reading ingredients. But one day I decided I was going to check out the SPACE NK beauty counter at Bloomingdales. I was game for trying something new.
While at the Darphin counter, I remembered that I had been interested in checking out their facial oil and skin balms meant for oily skin, similar to the Decleor Aromaessences line. I asked the beauty associate to see if they had the version meant for oily skin. I should have known that when it took her awhile to find the product that something was amiss. I was handed the 8 Flower Nectar Essential Oil Elixer…meant for mature, dry skin. It rang up at $150.oo for half an ounce. I remember asking the associate after she handed me the bottle if this was meant for oily skin and she emphatically said yes. (I really should have just read the box – I didn’t.) I was surprised by the price when they rang it up. I didn’t remember the bottle I researched online being that much, but I am a sucker for aromatic essential oils for my oily acne-prone skin.
So imagine my surprise, when I came home and did my online research and found that they had intentionally sold me the wrong essential oil elixer. It wasn’t just that this product was very pointedly marketed for aging skin that needed firming (I have no wrinkles, I get confused for being younger, and my skin is an oil slick, and uh I’m not OLD), but the fact that they had INTENTIONALLY chosen the most expensive facial oil they could find to sell to me. They actually had a pretty close substitute on hand (Organic Orange Blossom Aromatic Care), which cost about half the price of the 8 Flower Nectar Essential Oil Elixer.
Here I am, deciding to have a exploratory beauty splurge day at a beauty counter, which I rarely do since I prefer to know exactly what I want and just request it; I had already decided to purchase a Jemma Kid foundation, a rather expensive Rodial facial cleanser and I get sucker punched by a conniving beauty sales associate who upsells me the WRONG, even more expensive product. I was pissed. I couldn’t sleep that night because I could not believe that a professional could blatantly lie to me regarding a product (a touch naive, perhaps?).
I marched back the very next day to return the 8 Flower Nectar Essential Oil Elixer, and to confront the beauty associates (there were several assisting me), but they weren’t on deck that day. I simmered down and told the new beauty associate that the wrong product had been sold to me. She apologized to me and asked if there was something else I would be interested in and she actually pointed me to the direction of a purifying balm, which I got instead.
Now, I know that not all beauty associates are tricksters looking to sell anyway they can. I remember returning a Lancome Renergie Eclat Multi Lift tinted cream that I thought was too orange on me, and the associate who handled the return was very upset that the first associate had even sold it to me because it was clearly not appropriate for my skintype and she made a point of saying she gets upset with associates who intentionally sell anything to make the sale. I remember another Lancome beauty associate who took the time to properly match me to the right concealer and foundation and did not try to tell me that something matched me when it clearly didn’t (Lancome concealers are a good match, but their powder’s not so much). Perhaps, this means better training by Lancome account managers? Who knows.
It may be a while before I go back in the beauty counter trenches because I am ultimately looking for an enjoyable experience, and there is nothing enjoyable about having to be on guard for tricksters or pushers. However, the wiser person in me knows that I should do some personal research before I even think of buying something at a beauty counter that is new to me.